Climate Proxies: Advanced Collection
Plants may leave clues to paleoclimate conditions by leaving behind pollen and macrofossils such as this pinecone. Photo courtesy of the NOAA Climate Change website.
Compiled for professionals and advanced learners, this climate proxy/paleoclimate collection includes resources such as journal articles, academic reviews, and surveys.
- Climate Models & Predictions For The Future. These lecture notes from the University of Michigan's Global Change curriculum provide information about paleoclimate and climate modeling. This website includes a list of suggested readings, an image-rich overview of the paleoclimate record (including sections on ice core and deep sediment analyses) and causes of climate change, and a very brief summary of the lecture notes. (more info)
- Diatom-Based Bioassessment in Wetlands: How Many Samples Do We Need to Characterize the Diatom Assemblage in a Wetland Adequately?. This article by Weilhoefer and Pan addresses the use of microscopic diatoms lodged in sediment to learn about the history of lakes, rivers, and wetlands. This case illustrates such a study done with an extensive wetland along the Columbia River in Oregon, US. (more info)
- Evidence of Climate Change over the Last 10,000 Years from the Sediments of Lakes in the Upper Mississippi Basin. This USGS fact sheet discusses paleoecological records derived from sediments in the upper midwestern US (e.g. Minnesota). The paleoecological record was derived from varved (seasonally-laminated) sediment cores, geochemical data, and pollen. (more info)
- Global Climate Change Student Guide: Palaeoclimate Reconstruction from Proxy Data. This online student guide features a web-adapted discussion of paleoclimatology, the study of climate and climate change prior to the period of instrumental measurements. This section gives a broad overview of paleoclimate proxies such as shelled microorganisms in deep marine sediments (foraminifera, or forams) and ice core data. This site also includes links to other chapters in the book, also related to understanding climate change. (more info)
- Global Climate Change: A Glance in the Rear View Mirror. This Geotimes article provides information regarding the inference of paleoclimate (global climate change) from proxy data such as ice core (oxygen isotope) records and biota found in deep sea sediments. The article discusses the history of proxy usage, the basis of current proxies, and gaps in our understanding of carbon/material cycling and climate records. (more info)
- Inquiry into High Resolution Ice Core and Marine Sediment Records: Archives of Suborbital (Millennial) Oscillations in Climate. This Joint Oceanographic Institutions activity (PDF) provides questions related to interpreting paleoclimate (climate in the past) data. Questions inquire about characteristics that make sites favorable for paleoclimate records, locating sites using a map, finding patterns and correlations in the data, and implications for these records. Figures are provided to answer the questions and are from various sources that, in most cases, are hyperlinked to the original source. (more info)
- Ocean Cores. This University of Arizona course website features an outline to interpreting ocean cores as they relate to past environmental conditions (e.g. sedimentation rates, climate, etc.). The outline includes figures and information about sedimentation, the history of interpreting ocean cores, how proxies in ocean cores reveal past climate, and use of oxygen isotopes to infer past climate. Key terms are hyperlinked to related pages and further information. (more info)
- Paleoceanography. This National Climate Data Center collection features links to climate data derived from ocean records. These include CLIMAP (sea surface temperature reconstructions), SPECMAP (a reconstruction based on planktonic counts and isotopic values and age and sea surface temperature models), Relative sea level, Calcium carbonate, and Foraminifera (shelled marine microorganisms) data proxies. (more info)
- Paleoclimate Proxy Records. This site contains lecture notes about paleoclimate proxies used in an introductory earth science course at Bryn Mawr College. This pdf document offers an illustrated outline of how proxies such as oxygen and carbon isotopes, pollen, organic remains and species assemblages are used to infer past climate. The site also features information about climate cycles and ice ages. ( This site may be offline. )
- Recent Variations in Earth's Climate. These image-rich lecture notes from the Department of Geology at Bryn Mawr College offer information regarding climate change and how paleoclimate (past climate) is inferred using proxies. The notes, in slide form, discuss what affects climate and how climate has changed through time. The notes feature colorful photos, figures, and graphs to illustrate points. Topics discussed include extraterrestrial, short, and long term influences on climate, climate records through time (e.g. as influenced by carbon dioxide and Milankovich cycling), and future predictions/ramifications of climate change. ( This site may be offline. )
- The Twilight Zone of the Marine Carbon Cycle and Climate Change Past and Future. This Ocean and Climate Change Institute article provides information regarding carbon cycling and the ocean. It discusses where and how carbon moves through the ocean system, focusing on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as it relates to biota and sediment records. (more info)
Other Climate Proxy Collections
General Collection: Resources such as news articles, web sites, and reference pages provide a comprehensive array of information about paleoclimate and climate proxies.
For Educators: This climate proxy/paleoclimate collection includes activities, assignments, and reading materials created specifically for educators.
For additional resources about red tide, harmful algal blooms, and related issues search the Microbial Life collection.